TODAY   |  July 28, 2013

3 killed, dozens injured in deadly bus crash

A group of teenagers returning from a church camp in Michigan were a mile from their destination when their bus overturned, causing fatalities. Early indications show speed may have played a role. NBC’s John Yang reports.

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>>> we want to begin with the deadly bush crash. we are seeing new images this morning of the aftermath and the scene in the moments after the bus overturned. john yang is live in indianapolis outside of the church with the latest. john, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, lester. this is the colonial hills baptist church . this is where the buzz was headed when it crashed a few blocks away. this morning as they gather for morning services they'll be mourning the death of three church members and praying for the recovery of eight still in the hospital, one of them a teenager in critical condition . the bus was just about a mile from the church nearing the end of a six-hour drive from northern michigan . witnesses say as it rounded a curve while exiting exit 465, the bus hit a retaining wall and flipped over.

>> i stopped and i see this bus in the air and people falling out of this bus. i could have gone my whole life without seeing that.

>> reporter: on board, 37 teens and adults from the colonial hills baptist church on their way home after a six-day retreat.

>> they're obviously shocked and obviously hurting.

>> reporter: witnesses say the bus was moving at a high rate of speed. some who helped the driver say he told them the brakes failed. motorists rushed to help.

>> people were stopping and getting out of their cars. it was so hectic, people were literally trying to lift the bus.

>> some of the teenagers are hurting badly.

>> reporter: authorities say some of the injured had been thrown from the bus. helicopters lifted at least two to area hospital. clother and other items littered the highway. families of those on the bus gathered at the church, offering support and praying.

>> difficult to overstate the amount of faith that's in there right now. it's obviously a very strong church. really trying to help each other right now.

>> reporter: officials haven't identified the dead which include two, a husband and wife and one teenager. officials say that those hospitalized, including the one in critical condition are expected to recover. lester.

>> john yang this morning, thank